On a limited budget and living in the UK where I don't get nice American prices on electronics.... Has anyone actually bought the SB-400 and tried it out? I shoot a D50, and try to keep my gear as light and compact as humanly possible. So, I am curious about the 400. Any thoughts?
If cost is a driving factor, the SB600 can be had in the UK for the same price as an SB400.
This is a personal opinion, but FWIW, I seriously thought about the SB400 afore buying the SB600 recently, but what decided me was the fact that I *knew* if I bought the SB400, I would ( in the future) kick myself over the fact that I had bought a flash that was not CLS Wireless capable ; this being a feature that appeals to me greatly for my future flash photog improvement ...
I was interested in the sB-400 for my D50, but read that it could only be used in Manual mode with the D40. This would cause me problems with my manual focus extension tubes, if I've interpreted it correctly. So I bought the SB-600 instead, and very pleased with it so far.
>I was interested in the sB-400 for my D50, but read that it >could only be used in Manual mode with the D40. This would >cause me problems with my manual focus extension tubes, if >I've interpreted it correctly. So I bought the SB-600 >instead, and very pleased with it so far.
Good point, John, but I had interpreted "manual" mode as "manual flash mode", rather than "camera exposure manual mode"
i.e. as the SB400 has no buttons itself to enter and control "flash manual mode", you have to use the D40's "flash manual mode" settings to control it in "flash manual mode".
So, "flash manual mode" is only available with a D40 ( and wont work with D50 or above ).
Likewise, I had always *assumed* that "camera exposure Manual mode" would work fine on a D50 with an SB400, as the SB400 is in iTTL mode, and hence the D50 would work with MF tubes, MF lenses etc ...
<<<<< EDIT - the bit above is WRONG. See post below ... >>>>>
I should point out I have no first hand knowldege of this, and my assumptions could all be total garbage, and there are wayyyy too many Manual modes going on here
>Good point, John, but I had interpreted "manual" mode as >"manual flash mode", rather than "camera exposure manual >mode"
I'll need to try this again, but I'm pretty sure that I have to use 'Camera Manual Mode' when using the Manual extension tubes, as there's no metering. And the built-in flash won't fire unless I set the Camera to Manual Flash mode in the Custom Settings. This is where I thought the SB-400 wouldn't work for me. Will try it again tonight.
>I'll need to try this again, but I'm pretty sure that I have >to use 'Camera Manual Mode' when using the Manual extension >tubes, as there's no metering. And the built-in flash won't >fire unless I set the Camera to Manual Flash mode in the >Custom Settings. This is where I thought the SB-400 wouldn't >work for me. Will try it again tonight.
Apologies, John. You are correct, and I was blatantly wrong. A CPU lens, with metering, would work fine in "Camera Manual Mode"
BUT, you are right, if you put on an old MF lens, or tubes in your case, the flash wont fire ( no metering, doh !), and with the SB400 and a D50 you are a bit stuffed - no flash.
Sorry for the misinformation ( and doubting what you said )
I will go and hide in the corner and hang my head in shame ...
>Apologies, John. You are correct, and I was blatantly >wrong. >A CPU lens, with metering, would work fine in "Camera Manual >Mode" > >BUT, you are right, if you put on an old MF lens, or tubes >in your case, the flash wont fire ( no metering, doh !), and >with the SB400 and a D50 you are a bit stuffed - no flash. > >Sorry for the misinformation ( and doubting what you said ) > >I will go and hide in the corner and hang my head in shame >...
No worries! Its been a while since I tried it and will have to remind myself what to do. Haven't tried the extension tubes with the SB-600 yet, but hoping for good results. Fingers crossed!
>No worries! Its been a while since I tried it and will have >to remind myself what to do. Haven't tried the extension >tubes with the SB-600 yet, but hoping for good results. >Fingers crossed!
Just to tidy up with the D50 + MF tubes + SB-600. This works fine, but you have to switch the flash itself to Manual mode. You can then adjust the level of flash output. The way I understand it is that you can't do this with SB-400 unless you have a D40.
Thanks for all the information, tho I admit it's making it even harder to decide! I am not yet into extension-tube macro, nor do I have old lenses...so I think the "manual" issue wouldn't be an issue for me for a while. It's mostly down to small/light gear and price!
But then, finding cheaper and cheaper prices for the 600--and them being in stock--might assuage my NAS until I figure out how to get the new 70-300 lens I've been holding out for! It was supposed to be my birthday present to me when I was in the States in November..but the delays have driven me batty.
Now to compare prices including shipping to N.Ireland....(the cameraworld site charges £20!)
Can't add much to what's already been said. I have an 800 and 2 x 600s. Often prefer to take the 600 with me because of its size. Don't have a 400, but from what I've read it does not offer anywhere near the versatility and functionality of the 600. There are many places where you can get them from for £160. I appreciate that £60 is a big jump over the £99, but it might be worth saving for. You might have your speedlight for a long long time?
In addition to the obvious, being less powerful, the SB-400 does not swivel horizontally nor does it zoom to match the focal length of your lens. The fact that it does not zoom will make it compartively weaker at longer focal lengths than the SB-600. Also, if you ever want to go wireless the SB-400 cannot do this. So, the SB-400 may be a good choice for you but keep these things in mind.
If you are on a limited budget and you want to keep you gear as compact and light as possbile, then I think the SB400 is closer to what you described than the SB600.
I have the SB600, and have used the 800. I have only handled and tested the SB400 in a store. Frankly I am considering a SB400 because I mainly need a flash for fill-in and basic flash work to replace the built in flash. No, the SB400 will not do everything the 600 will. In my case, I use the 600 less often than I would the 400 because it IS MUCH bigger and heavier. It really throws the camera balance off when it is installed. And in Japan, the 400 is much cheaper than the SB600. If I do get it, my 600 will be used even less. (I suppose if I had bought the 400 first, I would have regretted not getting the 600---but I know better now.)
I use the 600 with an extension tube occasionally, and it does work well.
I guess the point is, if your goals are lower price, lighter-weight, and smaller size, the SB400 has the 600 beat. Only you can decide if the extra features of the 600 are something you will really use that often (now or in the future) to make it worth it.
**Never fall in love with anything that can't love you back.**
Jessica, The SB-400 reminds me of my SB-23 which has just one switch to either M or TTL. Nice and light on either my D70s or for that matter on the camera it was intended for my F501. It only works on M on the DSLR and needs some "driving" to achieve good exposure but the light weight and good balance on the camera is a big plus. I use my SB-800 for "serious" work...
Regards, Clive Liddell Pietermaritzburg South Africa
I suppose my only final question would be...when I DO get my new 70-300 lens, will there be a major difference in what the 400 and 600 can do at full zoom? Anyone have any idea/info? I'm not so very up to speed on flash technical details. But, darnit, I will order a flash this week!!
The angle of coverage in the SB-400 spec is 27mm (35mm equivalent), so the SB-400 acts like an SB-600/SB-800 with the zoom set to 28mm. When you use the SB-400 with a longer focal length lens (wgich has a narrower field of view) you will lose a lot of power since it does not zoom (narrow the beam of light). I would guess that at penalty is roughly proportional to focal length so the SB-400 at 27mm (fixed) versus the SB-600/800 at 105mm (maximum) is nearly a 4x disadvantage, on top of being less powerful to start with. So, I've never used an SB-400, but I suspect it's not a good choice for telephoto use.